Vail Daily letter: Should amend the Second
January 30, 2013
I was greatly impressed by Fredric Butler’s compelling defense of the Second Amendment in his essay “As the Second goes.”
His clarity as to Webster’s dictionary definition of “arms” and the “inalienable right” of a person to own arms were on target (no pun intended).
His conclusion that if the Second Amendment were to be amended or abolished, it would open the floodgates for a “domestic tyrant” to do away with other “inalienable rights” rings true for those who believe in a strict interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. To his credit, he allowed that to reinterpret the meaning of “arms” or “inalienable rights,” the Constitution would have to be amended.
I couldn’t agree more, although I’m certain that was not the point Mr. Butler was trying to make. The issue is not the preservation of a person’s rights under the Second Amendment. It’s the preservation of a child’s right to grow up in a safe environment.
The problem with problem solving is that rarely is the problem identified. The problem is not whether the Second Amendment is inviolate. The problem is our children are being killed by guns, and what are we as a society going to do about it?
It’s hard to believe that anyone thinks ownership of a gun is more important than the safety of a child in a school, a park, a theater, or in a home. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.
When Mr. Butler states “assuming that reasonable Americans can read, understand and comprehend the English language,” he must think they don’t read beyond the 10th Amendment.
Those amendments related primarily to individual rights consistent with changing political values of the 18th century and are still rightfully and vigorously defended.
Beginning with the 13th Amendment until the present, however, the Constitution has been amended 17 times, consistent with the changing political values of the times related primarily to the rights of groups – African Americans, women and the young (voting) – as opposed to individuals. It is a living document attuned to the times, not a static document stuck in the past.
The Second Amendment needs to be amended to clarify “arms” and redefine what the heck “a well-armed militia” really means in modern times.
More importantly, perhaps what we really need is an amendment to protect the rights of children.
Shouldn’t they have rights? As for me, if the Second goes, I think the only tears shed will be from the NRA and the gun manufacturers.